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Doctor Operates on Wrong Infant at Tennessee Hospital

Update Date: Feb 12, 2016 11:37 AM EST
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A doctor reportedly operated on the wrong infant due to a mix-up at a hospital in Tennessee.

According to the infant's mother, Jennifer Melton, 31, the nurses at the University Medical Center in Lebanon took her son, Nate, for what she believed was a routine check-up one day after he was born on Dec. 16. When Nate was returned, the nurse began explaining to Melton and her partner, Dominique Harper, 33, about a surgical procedure called a frenectomy, which involves cutting a band of tissue under the tongue to help with nursing.

"She started explaining how the procedure would help with our nursing problems and I go, 'You must have the wrong paperwork, our nursing is fine,'" Melton recalled to PEOPLE. "I even double checked to make sure she handed me the right baby!"

Melton then saw blood inside of her son's mouth.

"I picked up my precious Nate and looked in his mouth and saw speckles of blood under his tongue," Melton said. "I immediately began crying, wondering what had they done to my innocent child! It's not like he can speak up and tell them to stop."

A few minutes after realizing what had happened, the pediatrician called Melton.

"The pediatrician explained to me that he had accidentally asked for the wrong child, and performed the surgery on Nate by mistake," Melton said.

The pediatrician apologized and reassured Melton that Nate's health was not negatively impacted by the surgery. The doctor admitted to making a mistake in a progress report.

"I had asked for the wrong infant. I had likely performed the procedure on an infant different than the one I intended to ... and I admitted my mistake and apologized," the doctor wrote reported by WTVF television.

Although Nate is healthy, Melton and her partner are concerned that the "tongue-clipping" could affect their son later on in life.

"I worry and pray that he doesn't have any issues in the future from what they did with this unneeded procedure," Melton said.

Melton is reportedly pursuing a case against the hospital and the pediatrician, who is an independent doctor. No lawsuit has been filed yet.

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